The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, commissioned by Treasury Secretary, Robert Jenrick, and published on 9th March, sets out recommendations to improve female start-up and scale-up rates and contribute £250 billion of new value to the UK economy.

The UK is the start-up capital of Europe, attracting more venture capital than any other European country, yet only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female. In comparison with 15% of women in Canada, almost 11% of women in the US, and over 9% of women in Australia and the Netherlands, only 5.6% of UK women run their own companies.

The Alison Rose Review found that:

  • At almost every stage of the business journey, UK women are less likely to pursue entrepreneurship.

  • Women make up only a third of all entrepreneurs in the UK, a gender gap equivalent to over 1 million fewer female entrepreneurs in the UK.

  • Closing the gap with best-in-class-peer countries would add an additional £250 billion in Gross Value Add to the UK economy, equivalent to 4 years of economic growth.

  • Women are significantly under-represented in the most productive sectors with less than one in four female entrepreneurs in sectors like transport and information technology being women.

  • Ethnic minority women face significantly greater barriers.

The fact that Britain is home to so many new, innovative businesses is something to be proud of. But the fact that so few of them are started by women is shocking. This is not because of a lack of talent or appetite.
Therefore, it’s vital that we identify the barriers that are hampering entrepreneurial women from securing the backing that businessmen have taken for granted.
— Robert Jenrick, Treasury Secretary speaking in September 2018


The review identified five key barriers that lead to lower rates of entrepreneurship among women:

  1. Low access and awareness of capital funding opportunities, coupled with a perception of bias.

  2. Higher awareness of risk than men.

  3. A perception that they lack the skills and experience to start a business.

  4. Disproportionate responsibility for primary care.

  5. The lack of relatable sponsorship/ mentorship/ role models.


The Alison Rose Review has identified eight initiatives that target different stages of the entrepreneurial journey from start up to scale up and which will have both a direct and indirect impact on female entrepreneurs. They are:

  1. Promote greater transparency in UK funding allocation through a new Investing in Female Entrepreneurs Code: A new Investing in Female Entrepreneurs Code is to be created which commits all financial institutions to the principles of gender equality and transparent reporting of gender funding data.

  2. Launch new investment vehicles to increase funding going to female entrepreneurs: UK banks and investment funds will be asked to commit to encourage their high net worth clients and institutional investors to invest in female businesses.

  3. Encourage UK based institutional and private investors to further support and invest in female entrepreneurs: Institutional and private investors be encouraged to take steps to increase their investment in female-funded enterprises.

  4. Review existing and create new banking products aimed at entrepreneurs with family care responsibilities: UK’s leading financial institutions are being urged to review and develop set of products designed to help parent entrepreneurs to manage their businesses and the challenges of raising a family.

  5. Improve access to expertise by expanding the entrepreneur and banker in residence programmes: The private sector is being encouraged to support government-led information initiatives through providing access to further resources and expertise, and offering time to business hubs across the UK.

  6. Expand existing mentorship and networking opportunities: Public and private sector organisations will be encouraged to share best practices on networking opportunities and roll-out a new centralised networking platform.

  7. Accelerate development and roll-out of entrepreneurship-related courses to schools and colleges: A two-stage approach whereby organisations offer their support to schools and colleges nationwide and private and public sector organisations to collaborate on a common set of educational materials focused on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and self-belief.

  8. Create an entrepreneur digital first-stop shop: Public and private sector are encouraged to to collaborate to create the UK’s first comprehensive digital first-stop information shop for entrepreneurs.

Of the eight initiatives proposed in The Alison Rose Review, I am most encouraged by the new Investing in Female Entrepreneurs Code as this will commit banks and other financial institutions to publishing the gender split of the investments they make on an annual basis. How about you?


What’s not addressed in The Alison Rose Review is the difference in perceptions between male and female leaders, and the ‘confidence’ issues that women often experience as a result.

“Women have to prove themselves more than men. A McKinsey study says men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted on accomplishments.”  Business Insider

Which means that:

“Successful women are more likely to feel like "impostors" who will be found out.”  Business Insider

To read the full Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, click here >


Do your experiences of starting and scaling your business resonate with the findings of The Alison Rose Review? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to tell me in the comments box below.


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